Crossroads Victory Garden is celebrating a win to welcome in the new year. An online fundraising campaign not only exceeded their initial fundraising goal, but helped them to earn an additional grant as well. Crossroads Schools is a part of St. Francis Area Schools, located at Bar None Residential Treatment in Anoka.
Through the SeedMoney.com online fundraising challenge, which ran four weeks in November and December, the Crossroads Victory Garden raised $1,894 -- 316 percent of their initial goal of $600. The project earned first place for the "Best Performance" category and won a $400 grant from SeedMoney.com.
Crossroads Victory Garden started just three years ago, as an idea to help students learn science through gardening. It provides students a living laboratory to learn about healthy lifestyles and food production from seed to table.
Crossroads students are those that have not experienced much success in mainstream school settings. The garden project allows them to be a part of a successful effort with very real results.
"It has achieved some very significant milestones during that time," said David Berger, a science teacher at St. Francis Area Schools. Exposure from the University of Minnesota Extension as well as a promotional video have helped the garden be recognized throughout the state as an example of a model schoolyard garden. The program has also received national attention through a national USDA newsletter.
Crossroads Victory Garden was designed to help and has been successfully used to engage students in a variety of learning activities. "We have teamed with an amazing group of Master Gardeners who have given their time and energy to enhance the learning of all our students," Berger said.
"Multiple disciplines have benefited from our garden project. Math comes alive as students are able to use real life materials. It provides a living laboratory in order for science students to practice the scientific method and conduct experiments. Special Education has used the garden as a sensory tool. When they are in the garden, students are inspired and eager to work," Berger said.
"Thanks to the University of Minnesota, our students have also been actively engaged in cooking with our garden produce and receive guidance from a nutrition educator. Life-long lessons are passed on, such as working together and appreciating the benefits and pleasures of cooking and eating healthy food," Berger said.
In March 2018, Crossroads School moved to a new location and had to leave their garden and greenhouse behind. "Thankfully, the district has given us start up funds to rebuild a garden at our new location," Berger said.
"Thanks to the fundraising support, we have raised funds that will go toward building a greenhouse at our new location," Berger said.
Although the recent campaign was a resounding success, there's still more work to do. "We hope to continue to raise enough to build a heated greenhouse in order to increase our growing season, provide additional hands-on learning activities throughout the year and resume our planting/nursery program."